“Courier X might not be “the film the CIA tried to stop,” as its promotional materials claim, but the many-stranded conspiracy drama could’ve been a contender.”
The Hollywood Reporter
Placing elements of the agency in a global web of underworld activity, first-time filmmaker Thomas Gulamerian posits that it engineered the 1996 explosion and crash of TWA Flight 800. He offers details both compelling and tedious, without shaping them into a blood-pumping thriller.
A surreptitious smuggler, working for a former member of the German Stasi, gets solicited by the CIA for deleterious involvement with Flight TWA 800 and to cover-up the Nicaraguan blackmail attempt on the CIA, after the release of “Dark Alliance”, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Gary Webb.
Included in the film’s male-centric network of high-stakes deceit and big money are a New York mob boss (Gary Francis Hope), his henchmen (John Bianco, Anthony Mangano) and, inevitably, a former Contra (Ralph Guzzo), who blackmails the CIA with sensitive info about its activities in Nicaragua.
A more public challenge to the agency arrives in the form of reports by investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jay Disney) purporting its role in the country’s crack epidemic. Brief scenes of Webb have an extraneous, stilted quality. It’s too bad his subplot isn’t better integrated into the story.
Gulamerian caps it with footage from the extraordinary town meeting in Los Angeles when the CIA director addressed charges of drug trafficking.
The poster for “Courier-X” sports a splashy banner reading “The Film the CIA Tried to Stop.” Apparently that’s because the film claims to dramatize the conspiracy theory that the U.S. military was somehow involved in the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. The CIA has absolutely nothing to worry about. There’s not a shred of drama here.